A while back someone told me: I could do what you do in a heartbeat, but you couldn’t do what I do in a million years. She was an engineer. I, a marketer.
Granted, I can no more design energy systems than fly unaided (although, unlike flying, engineering can actually be learned), but I was still miffed at the implicit assumption that marketing’s a sort of fluff that anyone can do if they put their mind to it. In Romania, everyone’s an expert on football and politics, or so the saying goes. It now seems that marketing expertise is just as widespread.
But in reality, marketing’s neither easy nor accessible.
Marketing competence starts with nature: an affinity for people, a facility for language, an ability to synthesize, a propensity for innovation.
Then comes nurture : directing creativity to a purpose, transforming interaction into insight, generalizing, particularizing, synthesizing, balancing rigor in thinking with surprising leaps of imagination and many other habits of the mind that must develop early on.
Then comes education. Good marketers are generally recipients of a broader education than good engineers. They must know more than their own profession. Besides learning the tenets of customer behavior, statistical analysis, media buying, design, copywriting, public speaking etc., they need to master project management, budgeting, managerial accounting, HR, training of adults, etiquette, consumer technology and so much more.
They then need to learn whatever industry they’re in, understand its values, lingo, basic processes and limitations.
And then they must constantly learn. Keep in touch with marketing trends and tools, the industry and connected fields, and the world at large, for where metals will behave predictably under given circumstances, people won’t. And people are what marketing’s all about.
Sure, everyone can be a marketer in a heartbeat.
I’d like to see them try. With their own money, of course. Since it’s soooo easy.